This is part three of a four-part series. Tune in to the KHON2 News at 7 on KHII Monday-Thursday of this week for more.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies show music has emotional and behavioral benefits for those living with the disease. It’s not a cure, but music can comforting.
Roger Smith is a resident at Manoa Cottage, a nursing facility for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
“Almost everyone here has the illness, and we have specialized programs for residents with dementia,” said Calvin Hara, the Executive Director of Manoa Cottage.
One of those programs is called music and memory.
“It’s through the use of iPod shuffles. We have an iTunes library of over 1,000 songs with different genres,” Hara explained.
The music helps comfort residents like Roger Smith. Smith can often be see tapping to the beat, something his close friend George Makiya said is amazing, considering he can no longer hold a conversation.
Hara said that is often the case for a lot of residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia. “Even though a resident can be non-verbal or less verbal, the music piece is retrievable. So singing an entire song that they grew up with is possible,” he said.
A doctor at The Queen’s Medical Center explained why music can be comforting for those with memory loss.
“Music is a very unique thing because it’s store in a different part of the brain, and we keep our memory of music for a very long time,” said Dr. Jessica Barry, a geriatrician.
Makiya said although it has been hard seeing his good friend lose his memory, seeing Smith enjoy his childhood music is comforting.